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Siracusa. Indictement for journalists of “Civetta” and “Isola dei cani”

The Procurator’s Office of Messina decided almost six years after the facts. First hearing in April. Charges for criminal association fell. No accusation for two Magma journalists

For the affair of the so-called “poisons at the Prosecutor’s Office of Syracuse” (read more), almost six years after the facts, the Court of Messina indicted for libel the chief editor of the fortnight magazine from Syracuse, La Civetta di Minerva, and the journalist Carmelo Maiorca, bot then sued by the then prosecutor of Siracusa Ugo Rossi, and one of his deputies. The prosecutor’s office proceeded to make a direct citation, excluding the accusation of criminal association, proposed by one of the plaintiffs, deputy prosecutor Maurizio Musco.

Oddo and Maiorca had to appear on trial on 6 April 2018. Two other journalists from Catania (Gianfranco Pensavalli and Salvo La Rocca, respectively collaborator and chief editor of the weekly Magma, who in the meantime has ceased being published) filed for the same charges, are awaiting for the decision of the Court of Viterbo.

Oddo is questioned for four passages of his articles, which according to magistrates do not express truthful events. The journalist argues that they are in fact inaccuracies (such as writing “founding act” rather than “bylaws” and “sister” instead of “wife’s sister”).

Maiorca, on the other hands, sees contested a vignette published in December 2011, next to an article on the affair of poisons at the Prosecutor’s Office, on the monthly L’Isola dei Cani. In the cartoon there is a man depicted from behind while he is urinating on a statue depicting the goddess of justice. Maiorca argues that the cartoon does not have any specific reference to anyone.

The two magistrates in Siracusa had also cited the former MP Gino Foti and former mayor of Siracusa, Aldo Salvo, accusing them of criminal association for defamation. The prosecutor has asked for the case to be sent to the archives, while Maurizio Musco opposed it. The decision is pending.

Musco had denounced the journalists in 2012, accusing them of having campaigned against him and other magistrates in Siracusa.

The articles by Magma and La Civetta raised the attention of the Ministry of Justice, which sent for an inspection, and the Superior Council of the Judiciary (read). For those articles in 2012, Oddo and Marina De Michele (Civetta‘s deputy chief editor) have won the Mario Francese Prize, while the career award of the same prize went to Pensavalli.

Investigations against journalists started from Messina but later the file was transferred for issues of territorial jurisdiction (as it involved Sicilian magistrates) to Reggio Calabria. Then in March 2017, journalists were informed of a new proceeding (for which the public prosecutor Carchietti had asked for a prolongation of the investigation), registered once again in Messina and in which Foti and Salvo were also investigated.

In a note dated 19 April, the ODG Sicily expressed “full disapproval for the alleged crime offenses” against reporters, pointing out, in relation to the allegation of a criminal offense, that not all journalists involved knew each other, and that Musco and Rossi were “in turn subjected to multiple sentences and were already subject to convictions.” Musco was indeed sentenced for office abuse to one and a half years of imprisonment (confirmed by the Supreme court in 2017) together with Rossi (1 year for him); he was also sentenced in the first degree for attempted bribery to 3 years and 8 months’ imprisonment.

MF

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